The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears…
Changing or evaluating oneself or one’s life is never easy. The questions that you need to ask yourself are always hard! “What is working in my life?” “What isn’t working?” “What do I need to change?” “What do I need to live through or what feelings are underneath all the indecision?”
Some people change too quickly and others wait until it’s far too late. I especially see that a lot with parenting. As most parents are not educated in the field of child rearing they often try a new technique that may not work right away so they give up too soon. Or they don’t know when to try a different one or even ask for help to change their parenting style.
Lately I’ve noticed a good positive trend in the world for gratitude: appreciation and the law of attraction (Abraham Hicks, Wayne Dyer, Louise Hays, Depak Chopra, etc). I’ve also noticed that a lot of the gurus are not psychotherapists and have been pushing being positive above all else.
As a child and family therapist I’ve been trying to marry together the idea of working through our feelings that hurt and are often negative, while living in appreciation and being positive.
In life we need both. In order to get to the positive we have to get through the negative – in order to heal. As the saying goes “The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.”
False gratitude and appreciation and always looking at the bright side is great but it can also be a form of denial of the real self. For example: my two best stories are related to two clients that came into my office years ago where I learned the true meaning of denial and addictions.
One weighed 400 hundred pounds and the other was addicted to smoking pot, drinking and overeating. Both told me separately (different clients) that they had a wonderful childhood, they were happy and they would like to raise their kids the same way they were raised. I was a young therapist and I had never heard this before.
When I asked them, “How could your childhood have been so perfect when they’re addicted to so many substances?” they were both speechless and dumbfounded and didn’t know that addiction starts early in childhood and is usually related to how we were parented.
They simply thought they liked to eat and drink, etc.
As the first step of awareness is taken, we are on the road to recovery and appreciation. But you have to crawl through the negative first in order to walk the positive road.
We end up with other symptoms because those feelings (negative feelings) have to go somewhere and we know how powerful the mind-body connection is. Why you may WANT to focus on the negatives (sometimes).
Long ago, I read an article on Psychology Today that talked about the value of “thinking negatively.” At that time, it struck me as a real downer. What silliness! Why would we focus on the negative rather than the positive?
What a waste of energy.
I’ve changed my mind.
Over the last few years, my husband and I have watched many small businesses shut down, go bankrupt or lay off employees. Our own businesses were doing really well but we saw a downward slide about two years ago – when the housing market backlash hit our clients smack in the face. They could no longer pay us so we could no longer pay OUR bills. I’ll save you the rest of that story because here’s my point:
When we decided to focus on the negative – the ugly and real truth of the situation – we gave ourselves permission to make changes. We could have said, “Hey. Everything is top notch. It’s all A-Okay. We’ll be just fine. Let’s keep on smiling and the sun will keep on shining.” Instead we said, “This sucks. We’ve worked too long and too hard to let this economy kick us into the dirt. We refuse to give up or walk away from what we’ve built. We refuse to quit our businesses or sell for cheap.”
From there, we made a plan to re-vamp what we do and offer. We tapped into our strengths, backgrounds and talents and made a new game plan to come back fighting.
We took another hit last year, after losing our nanny. We went from full time childcare to no childcare and our productivity levels are indicative of this. I told my husband that I refused to say, “It’s all good! It’s all okay! We’ll get by.” Instead, we again sat down and talked about the changes we have to make in order to put our businesses back on track. We have now moved to a location that offers multiple childcare options. We’re doing what we have to do, in order to pull ourselves back up. In order to get that done, of course, we had to face the hurtful truths and come to terms with our reality. We both cried, yelled a little, took walks and vented to each other.
This process hurt but I’ve come to believe: there can be no dawn without the darkness.
Slowly but surely, things are picking up and looking up. We have a ways to go, to get back to where we were, but with our eyes wide open, we’ll get there.
Ava Parnass, a.k.a. “The Kid Whisperer,” is an author, songwriter and child therapist who specializes in marrying Entertainment, Emotional Intelligence and Time-In not Time-Out for kids. Ms Parnass helps kids figure out how they feel through playing, talking ,listening,reading, singing and dancing.
Shara Lawrence-Weiss, owner of Mommy Perks, has a background in early childhood, education, nanny work (16+ years), working with kids (23+ years), freelance, marketing, small business ownership, and special needs. She has four children (2 boys and 2 girls).